Venerable adult film director Bob Chinn and producer Gail Palmer once again join forces for yet another WWII based venture this time tapping into the same aesthetic as Don Edmonds and Dave Friedman’s Ilsa, Jesus Franco’s Wanda, the Wicked Warden and a rash of Italian productions by such entertaining bottom feeders as Bruno Mattei, Rino DiSilvestri and Luigi Baztella.
Because it’s romantic to poke out your girl’s eye.
John Holmes is a sailor stationed in Japan. A very sexy Mai Lin bids him a fond farewell in the manner patrons of this sort of picture would expect, all grinding hips, moaning and sighing. She genuinely seems to appreciate Holmes’ ministrations, which is decidedly not par for the course in adult cinema and thus makes the scene stand out in stark relief from the subsequent proceedings.
Unfortunately, no sooner does Holmes depart her lodgings than an American bombing raid hits her district, leaving a casualty of his intended bride. Shortly thereafter, Holmes’ own ship is torpedoed (in a patch job of stock and what appears to be ‘appropriated’ footage from a much bigger production), and he (and conveniently, his footlocker) washes ashore on a deserted beach.
After eking out a course of survival Robinson Crusoe style, he stumbles across a pair of naked women bathing in a nearby waterfall. Unfortunately, they turn out to be part of a small Axis outpost peopled by a trio straight out of Russ Meyer: the heavily mugging borscht belter Hans (Elmo Lavino, looking for all the world like Chuck McCann), “Ilsa” (Seka) and “Greta” (Sue Carol, whose hideous fright wig frizz job and highly inventive broken record repetition of “say you love the Fuhrer! Say it! You vill say it!” runs through an entire (rather repulsive) lesbo scene.
The reason the scene is repulsive? The fish lipped distended pudenda of one Gloria (Brenda Vargo), whose wide open innards are positively terrifying in their abnormal folds and noticeable areas of discoloration. Did I mention she also goes for the fright wig perm? Ooh, sexy. (shudder)
Holmes makes a half-assed attempt at helping Vargo and fellow prisoner Carol (Nikki Anderson) escape the prison camp, and true to form, is instantly caught. This being porn, he’s of course forced at gunpoint to service Seka and the obviously bubbleheaded (Sue) Carol (who diddles herself sloppily with the butt of her gun (!) and displays a seriously nasty scar on her shoulder) as Lavino looks on and Wagner’s “ride of the valkyries” plays. It’s pretty damn silly, but Seka is quite impressively “in the moment”, staring Holmes down throughout and remaining very much in character.
But wait, there’s more! After all this, Holmes and the middling attractive Anderson are brought together and get to put on a performance both for and with the sinister krauts. They’re just insatiable, these Jerrys…
But Holmes has an ace in the hole, Japanese guard “Suke” (Jade Wong, last seen in bit parts in Chris Warfield’s Purely Physical and Carlos Tobalina’s The Ultimate Pleasure), who isn’t really a stitch on Mai Lin (particularly herein) but is certainly cute enough and (more to the plot point) has a thing for him.
After an overly brief sex scene intercut with bits of the earlier Holmes/Mai Lin one (I guess Chinn’s saying Holmes sees every Asian girl as being pretty much the same?), the nazi girls show up, Wong takes a bullet for Holmes, and it all comes to a rather convenient if somewhat credulity straining ending that directly references Apocalypse Now. Roll credits.
With the usual Chinn production values and striking cinematography, Prisoner of Paradise is cheesy as hell but still quite enjoyable as a low-rent hardcore variant of the short lived (if highly controversial) nazisploitation subgenre of the mid to late 70’s.
Despite casting both a Filipina and a Chinese as “Japanese” and traumatizing viewers by subjecting them to two other ladies who should never have been seen onscreen (much less in an intimate sense), we still get known commodities like Seka, Holmes and Mai Lin and respectably appealing up and comers like Wong and Anderson, small if well appointed sets and a comic bookish yet recognizable plot bridging all the prurient bits.
I’d certainly be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained, and the Process Blue/Vinegar Syndrome restoration of the film leaves it as pristine as it’s ever looked (more likely, moreso).